Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 | 12:41 p.m.
Show Us Your Shoes Parade
Thousands of fans, families, tourists and locals jammed the circular driveway of the Paris yesterday afternoon with the relaunch of the long-ago tradition of Miss America’s Show Us Your Shoes Parade.
“It was for a first-time venture a total success, far bigger and more enthusiastic than we dared hope for,” Miss America President Art McMaster told me. “Next year, we can and will do bigger, better and more ambitious.
“It was always a big favorite attraction in Atlantic City, but we hadn’t done anything like it since moving to Las Vegas five years ago. So we had no idea how it would be received. But easy to see from the enthusiastic contestants and crowds, it’s a giant hit.”
VegasDeLuxe.com has learned that talks will start next week to expand next year’s parade with live video coverage on Strip marquees, with even a pink carpet walkway from the neighboring Planet Hollywood, where tonight’s ABC broadcast will start at 6 p.m. local time for East Coast primetime (the show is tape delayed on the West Coast).
Here’s the official video of the entire parade from start to finish, where I took on emcee duties not only to introduce all 53 of tonight’s hopefuls and their costumes, but also more than 40 Miss Americas who happily kicked up their heels! Even more will be onstage tonight as they arrived last night for today’s pageant.
If you thought Las Vegas goes wild at Halloween, the 53 creative Miss America contestants went further. But instead of the outrageous of Oct. 31, these were artistic and all-original costumes representing each state.
I loved Miss Kansas Jaymie Stokes as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz with her Tin Man escort traveling the Yellow Brick Road in search of scarecrows and lions -- not too difficult a task in Las Vegas! My sympathies to Miss Hawaii Jalee Fuselier’s escort, who had to shiver bare-chested on a chilly but sunny winter day. And our Miss Nevada Cris Crotz braved the elements in a sizzling silver showgirl outfit of rhinestones and gaming chips to represent The Silver State and our entertainment Mecca. I honestly thought the wind was going to lift her off the ground in her massive, feather-plumed headdress.
Some of the costume highlights included: Ashley Davis from Alabama decorated her shoe with peanuts; Miss California Arianna Afsar dressed as Marilyn Monroe and sang “Happy Birthday” for the Miss America 90th anniversary; Miss Florida Jaclyn Raulerson shined in orange to represent her Sunshine State; Christina McCauley dressed as Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind to represent Georgia; Kacie West represented Montana as a fly fisher with her shoe as a fish on the end of a reel; and Ashleigh Udalovas represented The Garden State of New Jersey in a couture tomato costume with tomato vines to decorate her shoe.
Thanks to contributing photographers Tom Donoghue, Glenn Pinkerton and the Las Vegas News Bureau team and Erik Kabik and videographers Richard Corey and Christopher Rauschnot @24KMedia on Twitter for their work (even if we didn’t end up using any of it, we appreciate the effort).
The nearly 90-minute parade around the Arc de Triomphe at the Paris driveways went off trouble free.
“It’s not easy marshalling more than 200 people to pull this off without even a rehearsal and Miss Americas landing at the airport and racing here to walk the walk,” one of the Miss America producers told me. “We are thrilled the near 90-year tradition has started all over again.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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